Democracy Research Institute Responds to the Blockage of Parliament Area by the Ministry of Internal Affairs

According to the Democracy Research Institute, blocking the territory surrounding the Parliament building with metallic structures on 28 November 2019 was disproportionate and unjustified interference with human rights.

Absence of legal basis for the erection of the construction

Article 33 of the Law of Georgia on Police lists in detail all the measures to be used by the police to protect public safety and law. Among the special measures provided by law, there are no barriers of metal construction. Since the use of police measures that restrict the human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia is permissible only on the basis of the law, the Democracy Research Institute considers that the use of a measure not provided by law by the Ministry of Internal Affairs had no legitimate basis.

According to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, instructions for the use of special measures should be detailed in the legislation.[1] In addition, according to the European Court of Human Rights, erection of barricades and obstacles cannot be justified by the threat of the blockage of entrances to public institutions. The mentioned measure should be proportionate to the expected threat and should not be used against peaceful demonstrators unless there is a particular risk of a crime or disorder.[2]

Non-use of less restrictive measure

The constructions were erected by the Ministry of Internal Affairs several hours before the demonstration, whereas the police could have ensured functioning of the public agency through alternative methods.

Failure to notify population of the restriction of movement

According to the information available for the Democracy Research Institute, neither the Ministry of Internal Affairs nor the Tbilisi City Hall had informed the public about the purpose of erecting metal structures or regulation of traffic and movement of pedestrians on the streets adjacent to the Parliament of Georgia.

In view of the above, the Democracy Research Institute terms the interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression as disproportionate and unlawful and calls on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to publish the order on the basis of which the above-mentioned measure was used.